Needless to say, 2020 has been a year unlike any other. The ongoing health crisis has obviously been the dominant story in the news all year long, but 2020 is a year nobody will forget for a variety of different reasons.
Since the year is mercifully nearing its end, Time Magazine is gearing up to name its Person of the Year. The publication has been handing out the “honor” every year since its debut in 1927. The goal is to profile a person, group, idea, or object that “for better or for worse…has done the most to influence the events of the year.”
Readers can vote on who they think should be named Person of the Year, but the votes don’t actually have any impact on the nomination process. The Person of the Year is determined by Time’s editors. This year’s Person will be unveiled on December 10.
Entertainment betting sites are already accepting wagers on this year’s nominee. Climate activist Greta Thunberg was the Person of the Year last year. Other recent winners include Donald Trump, Angela Merkel, and Pope Francis.
Let’s sort through some of the nominees and find some betting value before the official winner is revealed next week.
Doctors, Nurses, First Responders, and Healthcare Workers (-275)
Two of the last three Person of the Year winners have not actually been individual people. “The Silence Breakers” took home the prize in 2017. These were people that spoke out against sexual harassment and abuse and spawned the #MeToo movement a couple of years ago. A year later, Time named “The Guardians” as the Person of the Year. The magazine listed a number of prominent journalists from all over the world that faced persecution (or worse) for simply doing their jobs.
If Time continues down that same path, it’s hard to imagine doctors and other healthcare professionals not receiving serious consideration in 2020. The virus has infected more than 64 million people around the world as of this writing, with case numbers continuing to spike on a daily basis.
While a few vaccines are apparently just around the corner, we are unlikely to see the end of the crisis until we are well into next year. As a result, healthcare workers all over the world are unfortunately going to have their hands full for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.
There isn’t a ton of betting value to be had here at -275, but this is clearly the safest bet on the board. Other options offer more profit potential given the discrepancy in the odds, but healthcare/essential workers have received quite a bit of public support in Time’s online poll.
Joe Biden (+500)
Joe Biden pulled off the incredibly rare feat of defeating an incumbent in a US presidential election. As of this writing, Biden has received 80 million votes and counting, compared to about 74 million for President Donald Trump. While Trump has insisted that the vote was rigged against him, Biden will assume his role as president on January 20.
The 78-year-old served as vice president under Barack Obama, but the former Senator had unsuccessfully run for president twice before finally winning in 2020. Biden was forced to withdraw early when he gained minimal support ahead of the 1988 and 2008 elections. However, Biden managed to surge to the Democratic Party’s nomination earlier this year after floundering in some early state primaries.
While the virus was a bigger story on a global scale than Biden’s victory in the American election, presidential election winners have a very strong track record when it comes to Time Person of the Year. Trump was Time’s Person of the Year when he beat Hillary Clinton back in 2016. Ditto for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012. George W. Bush was Time’s Person of the Year in both 2000 and 2004.
The last election year that didn’t produce Time’s Person of the Year was 1996, when scientist David Ho earned the honor over Bill Clinton. Clinton was Person of the Year when he first won election in 1992, and he wound up winning it again in 1998 following his impeachment.
Because election winners have fared so well with Person of the Year in the past, Biden is a very good value betting option here at +500. It would admittedly be a bit of a surprise if he managed to win, but he is worth a dart throw, at the very least.
Dr. Anthony Fauci (+500)
Dr. Anthony Fauci has been the United States’ top infectious disease expert for decades, but the vast majority of Americans likely didn’t know who he was until this year. Dr. Fauci has been the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease since he was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1984, which means he has served under six presidents. Biden reportedly plans to keep Fauci on board next year.
The 79-year-old emerged as one of the primary figures of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, and he became one of the more trustworthy public figures in the early stages of the pandemic.
While he has received plenty of criticism from a certain side of the political aisle for continuing to endorse safety measures like social distancing and mask-wearing, Dr. Fauci has essentially become the face of the crisis in the US.
If Time doesn’t opt for general doctors and healthcare workers, Dr. Fauci is clearly a leading contender for Person of the Year. His odds would clearly be quite a bit shorter if this wasn’t an election year, but Biden’s presence is enough to make Dr. Fauci an interesting value option at the same +500 odds.
For whatever it’s worth, Dr. Fauci is another candidate that has gotten plenty of support from the voting public.
Black Lives Matter (+600)
While the pandemic has dominated headlines for most of the year, racial and social justice have also featured prominently. The police killings of African-Americans, notably George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, sparked a huge swath of racial justice protests all over the United States over the summer. The incidents also led to similar demonstrations elsewhere around the world.
The protests were some of the biggest racial justice demonstrations the US has seen in decades. The cause has led to some police reform along with some controversy. Some of the protests led to looting and other dangerous behavior, which garnered headlines of their own.
Black Lives Matter, the social movement behind the protests, garnered worldwide notoriety. Despite having existed since 2013, BLM became a household name when between 15 million and 26 million people participated in protests in the United States over the summer. Black Lives Matter has increased in popularity this year, as well. The organization’s name was emblazoned on the court after the NBA returned from its hiatus, while every player in the English Premier League sported “Black Lives Matter” along the backs of their jerseys when the soccer season resumed over the summer.
Black Lives Matter activists haven’t received quite as much public support as essential workers or Dr. Fauci, but more than 60 percent of voters have still voted in favor of BLM as Time’s Person of the Year.
Jacinda Ardern (+600)
New Zealand is one of the success stories when it comes to flattening the virus curve. Thanks in large part to preventative policies installed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand has effectively quashed the virus as the rest of the world continues to struggle in that regard. Ardern was also re-elected to her post this year while helping the Labour Party gain an absolute majority of seats in Parliament.
Ardern’s rapid rise in recent years has gained her global notoriety, but it would be a bit of a surprise if she earned Person of the Year. While it may happen in the future if she continues to lead New Zealand’s fast-growing progressive movement, Ardern looks like a bit of a reach for Person of the Year at her current +600 odds.
World Health Organization (+900)
The World Health Organization (WHO) checks in at +900. This is another candidate that is obviously tied to the pandemic, but the WHO hasn’t exactly received rave reviews for its worldwide virus response. The Trump administration has been vocal in its criticism of the WHO, who were a bit quick in praising China’s response as the virus started to spread earlier this year.
If internet-based voters are any indication, the WHO would be a rather unpopular Person of the Year choice. Fade the WHO at +900.
Li Wenliang (+900)
Li Wenliang was the Chinese epidemiologist that initially spoke out about the dangers of the virus when it first started to break out in Wuhan late last year. He was labeled as a “whistleblower” and publicly scolded by local law enforcement for making “false comments” about the potential risk of the outbreak.
Li wound up returning to work and eventually contracting the virus himself. He died in February at the age of just 33 due to complications from the disease, and the Chinese government went as far as to apologize to his family about his previous admonishment.
Li was obviously a hero for being among the first doctors in the world to warn others about the potential for the virus to spread around the world, and he is certainly the type of sympathetic figure that has fared well in terms of winning Time’s Person of the Year in the past. Li is worth a flier at +900, but it would still be somewhat surprising if he wound up winning.
Kamala Harris (+1200)
In November, Kamala Harris became the first woman of color to be elected as vice president of the US. Harris, who is of Indian and Jamaican descent, was asked by Biden to be his running mate earlier this summer. Last December, Harris had decided to abandon her own presidential campaign after she struggled to gain much support amid a crowded field.
Biden Will Be in His 80s When His First Term Ends
There has already been speculation that he will not seek a second term as a result of his age, and that the Democratic Party will decide to have Harris run as a pseudo incumbent in his place. Harris will officially make history once she is sworn into office on Inauguration Day.
While she makes for a passable long shot betting option, I think Biden at +500 is just a more logical choice. No vice president has ever been named Person of the Year, so I’m skeptical of her chances in what has been a year with no shortage of viable candidates.
Teachers and Educators (+1200)
While doctors, nurses, and first responders have gotten most of the attention for their heroic work during the pandemic, the job teachers and educators have done need not be overlooked. With schools all over the world having to close as a precaution, teachers and educators have been thrust into never-before-seen situations.
Children all over the world have had to start attending school remotely. While that’s obviously a suboptimal arrangement for students, it isn’t any easier on teachers. Trying to maintain order in a classroom is challenging enough. Trying to do the same during a Zoom call seems like a nearly impossible task.
Teachers and educators have done an admirable job of weathering the storm in the midst of dreadful circumstances. The +1200 odds give the bet some upside, but I’d sooner bet on healthcare workers winning Person of the Year before teachers and educators.
Donald Trump (+1800)
We’d be remiss to write this without mentioning the sitting American president, Donald Trump. Remember when Trump was impeached? Yep, the Senate acquitted Trump of his impeachment charges this year. While it seems like that happened eons ago, it was, in fact, something that happened in 2020.
2020 has been a wild year for Trump, even by his lofty standards. Following his impeachment acquittal, he easily earned the Republican Party’s presidential nomination again. He started ranting and raving about election fraud months before the election even took place. He made a mockery of the first presidential debate between he and Biden. He even contracted the virus after doing a very poor job of managing the pandemic. We also learned that he paid about $750 in federal taxes in 2017 despite being a “billionaire.”
Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!
Oh, and he became one of the few incumbent presidents to lose in his bid for re-election. While he maintains that Biden’s win was fraudulent, his term will be coming to an end in a little over a month. Trump’s claim to Person of the Year stems from the fact that he is the main character in just about every news story that comes out of the US these days.
Trump will try as hard as he possibly can to remain relevant after he leaves office, but 2020 is likely his last chance to win Person of the Year for the second time. I do think the president makes for a solid value option at +1800 because he’s Trump, but healthcare workers (-275), Biden (+500), and Fauci (+500) are more compelling candidates.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu …